When I initially saw Sony was raising prices to $70 I was frustrated. I am luckily by no means poor; however, I am a college student that works multiple jobs, so I like to save my money. Additionally, I feel the more you pay for a game the more of a sunken cost fallacy there is. If I play a game from Gamepass, I don't feel any issue dropping it if I dislike it. However, if I pay $70 for a game, I will continue on playing it till I either get incredibly burnt out on it or I finish it. While in some cases this can be a good thing (eg if I had not paid $60 for RDR2, I would likely have dropped it in the early hours, but I kept going and it ended up being one of my favorite games) however, this is not always the case.
Therefore, I think overall "we" can agree that the price increase mostly hurts gamers monetarily. While it is possible that it means we will get better games, this is not the case. For example, last year Blizzard had a record year through micro transactions. However, they still pay their employees a median salary and their CEO is instead going home with a massive payday (https://www.businessinsider.com/activision-blizzard-salary-disparity-issues-2020-8). This is all the while employees are literally skipping meals. Blizzard is a highly successful company. Yes, development costs have risen since the days of PS3 era, but so two has sales and profits (https://www.statista.com/topics/868/video-games/). There are more gamers than ever, generating more profits than ever, and yet workers are getting paid the same amount, especially during periods of "crunch". Does this mean that the $70 increase is simply another method for CEOs to get more money? Time will tell; however, it makes one doubt that it is a positive change in the industry. In spite of this, there is one more crucial thing to consider…
The True Issue:
In the past 30 years, house prices have gone up 3 fold (https://www.homelight.com/blog/house-price-history/). By this same metric, video games should be $200+ a pop at this point. Now, it's fair to argue that this is comparing apple to oranges; however, nonetheless, inflation is an undeniable phenomenon. Inflation will always happen, and while the house industry may observe its effects more heavily, so do the entertainment industry (compare the movie ticket prices for example). In fact, the movie industry is an apt comparison for video games. Both have gotten more expensive over time. Both have gotten a wider audience over time. Both exist for entertainment. Movie prices have double (https://www.the-numbers.com/market/) while, again, video game prices remain constant. So, by this metric it is more than fair that video game prices are increasing by only 14% after nearly 20 years. Yet, people are still angry. And I think people are focusing on the wrong issue. Wages in the United States are stagnant (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/). This means that despite house prices tripling, movies doubling in prices, the average hourly wage is still the same. This is where the true issue lies in my opinion. If wages have grown sustainably, we wouldn't need to worry about this increase to $70 — in fact, it could increase to $210 and, wealth wise, we are individuals shouldn't really feel a difference. However, this disconnect between wealth/wages and product prices is why this increase seems like such a difference.
What I am saying is by no means anything revolutionary; however, I just ask for those who are angry at the increased game prices to potentially view it in this context and to not focus on the wrong issue. Or you may totally disagree with me, that's cool too.
- I recently played Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure for DOS and was reminded that games used to have no idea what they were doing.
- People upset about $70 Games are not trolling Sony. We are poor and can’t afford to keep up with the way the industry is trending.
- Nintendo’s pricing structure up leaving a lot of casual gamers out in the cold, and I think that’s the point.
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